The best way to elevate your home coffee game is to get a good grinder, one that’s adjustable and consistent enough to give you just the right grind for your coffee, right when you want it, time after time.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro has loads of grind settings to suit most types of coffee, grinds consistently, and works at the push of a button. It has some limitations, but it’s cheaper than most grinders in its class.
Read on for a closer look at the Smart Grinder Pro, to decide if it’s the right coffee grinder for you.
Overview of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Based in Australia, Breville is one of the most prominent brands of home espresso machines globally. They have a wide range of coffee products, from super-automatic espresso machines to capsule-based coffee makers.
The Smart Grinder Pro is their entry-level espresso grinder. Its grind settings offer enough adjustability and precision that you can fine-tune your grind to pull a quality shot of espresso, while also having the versatility to grind for other brew styles.
That makes it well at home in kitchens where you’re brewing a few different styles on a regular basis.
It’s designed to be very user-friendly and intuitive enough for beginners who are just starting to hone their barista skills.
It has smart features like programmable grind settings and is easy to operate. It’s a durable and reliable machine built around a decent set of stainless steel conical burrs.
It does have some limitations in terms of grind consistency and durability, but overall it offers comparable performance to more expensive grinders.
Things we like:
- 600 possible grind sizes mean it’s very adjustable and suitable for all sorts of brew styles
- Better grind consistency than most other grinders in its price class, especially with finer grinds
- An all-around coffee grinder that works well for most brewing methods, including espresso
- Easy to use and clean
Things we don’t like:
- Coarse grind sizes aren’t consistent, making it less suitable for people who primarily make french press or percolator coffee.
- It grinds by time rather than weight, so it can be tedious to find grind precise doses
- Unreliable customer service and technical support
Breville Smart Grinder Pro Review
|Breville Smart Grinder Pro Specs|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||22 x 16 x 39 cm|
|Burrs||38 mm stainless steel conical burrs|
|Grind Settings||600 (60 macro settings each with 10 micro settings)|
|Motor Speed||450 rpm|
|Capacity||Hopper holds up to 18 oz (510g)|
|Noise during grinding||~80dB|
|Accessories included||• 2 portafilter cradles (50-54mm and 58mm)
• Grinds container with lid and sealing cap
• Cleaning brush
In terms of looks, I’d call the Smart Grinder Pro elegantly utilitarian. It has a brushed steel finish that’s sleeker than other grinders that use a plastic casing.
Its interface is well designed with neatly placed buttons, dials, and an LCD display screen that gives it a sophisticated look.
The power cord wraps tidily underneath the machine as well, so you won’t have cords sprawling across the countertop.
The body of the Smart Grinder Pro is built with sturdy plastic, which is encased with a stainless steel finish. The hopper and the housing for the burrs are also made of plastic.
All that plastic gives me pause about the machine’s durability. I’d prefer to see sturdier materials, although that would bring up the price.
That said, despite the plastic, this is pretty hefty and I don’t notice a lot of vibration when the motor is running. It feels sturdy enough to hold up to a lot of usages, and after a year I’ve yet to have any problems.
Burrs and Motor
At the heart of the Smart Grinder Pro is a set of conical burrs made of stainless steel set in a sturdy plastic housing. They’re 38mm burrs, which is pretty average for a home burr grinder.
The burrs have deep grooves with sharply-edged ridges. Stainless steel doesn’t hold its sharpness as well as ceramic burrs do, but you won’t find ceramic burrs at this price point.
The upper burr is removable by hand — there’s a metal handle that always feels like it’s going to snap when I turn it to pull the top burr out.
The bottom burr, which is the conical burr, is mounted into the machine with a nut and you’ll need a socket wrench to remove it if you want to clean beneath it.
Some conical burr grinders run into issues when they grind so fast that the friction heats up the beans and starts extracting oils and flavors during grinding.
The Smart Grinder Pro avoids that, with a 165-watt motor that spins the burrs at 450 rpm — slightly slower than some grinders, but fast enough to be effective without affecting the flavor of the grounds.
The motor does have some downsides. It’s not the most powerful grinder motor out there — at just 165 watts, it can’t really handle grinding large batches of coffee.
But assuming you’re not grinding pounds at a time and you’re only running it for 10-20 second intervals, you should be fine.
The Smart Grinder Pro’s hopper can hold more than a pound of beans. When you have a hopper that big, there can be a tendency to use it as a de facto storage container for your beans. The problem is beans tend to go stale more quickly when they’re stored that way.
Breville addressed that with their design: the Smart Grinder Pro’s hopper is tinted to block UV light and has an air-tight lid to help with that issue. Still, freshness is always a concern with storing beans in the hopper.
A feature of the hopper that I really like is the switch that locks it onto the machine. When you unlock the hopper, the chute at its bottom switches shut. Therefore, beans will no longer flow through and you can lift the hopper from the machine without pouring beans all over the counter and floor.
Ease of Use
This machine is designed with beginners in mind, and it’s intuitive and easy to use. Adjustments are simple, and the display screen readily shows you the settings.
There are knobs to control grind size and grind time, and buttons on the front to set how many portions you want to grind and to start or stop the grinder.
The Smart Grinder Pro uses a digital timer to dose out your grounds. You can adjust the grind time in 0.2-second increments, so you can get pretty precise with your adjustments.
Once you find settings that grind the precise volume of coffee you want, you can program them so they’re easy to find next time.
The Smart Grinder Pro has a range of grind settings that will cover most brew styles, ranging from espresso to drip to French press.
There are 60 clicks on the grind adjustment dial on the side of the machine, so it gives plenty of options to dial in your espresso grind settings.
If the finest settings aren’t grinding fine enough, you can adjust the entire grind range by removing the hopper to adjust the top burr. The ten top burr adjustments effectively give the machine 600 grind settings.
The Smart Grinder Pro’s range is one of its main selling points. It’s designed as an entry-level home espresso grinder but can grind for everything from percolator to pour over to French press.
Although it has great range, the grind consistency tails off at the coarser end of the spectrum. When you grind at coarse settings, you’ll find that the grind size is a bit erratic, with fines mixed in with bigger chunks of pulverized beans.
In terms of how the grind inconsistency might affect the flavor of your brew, it can lead to uneven extraction.
For example, if you’re brewing French press, the finer grounds will extract more quickly and contribute more bitter flavors if you steep the batch long enough to extract flavor from the coarser grounds.
That being said, the Smart Grinder Pro performs better with finer grinds. It delivers a consistent grind for fine and medium grounds, meaning it’s even extraction for things like espressos and pour-overs.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The Smart Grinder Pro is easy to maintain. You’ll want to brush it out pretty regularly, to keep coffee residue from accumulating and gumming up the internal parts of the machine and giving off sour flavors. Fortunately, the machine’s design makes the process easy and painless.
Cleaning it is a simple matter of taking off the hopper and removing the top burr by hand, then brushing it out using either the brush that’s provided with the machine or a spare toothbrush.
To clean beneath the bottom burr, you’ll need a 10mm socket wrench to remove the nut. I like to use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment once every month or two to help suction out old coffee grounds.
It’s worth noting that the customer service for Breville is notoriously subpar. A common complaint by owners of Breville grinders is that it’s challenging to get competent technical support. They also don’t have a very extensive inventory of replacement parts.
If the unit breaks down, you may be out of luck in fixing it. Ostensibly, the Smart Grinder Pro comes with a one-year limited warranty, but whether you’ll be able to collect on said warranty with unreliable customer service is anyone’s guess.
The Verdict: Should You Buy It?
All in all, while the Smart Grinder Pro has some quality issues, it’s a genuinely good grinder at this price. It’s easy to use, affordable, and delivers a more precise grind than most grinders in its price class, especially on the fine to medium end of the spectrum.
High-end coffee grinders can cost up to $1,000 or more. The Smart Grinder Pro won’t match those grinders on performance or durability, but it’s a great option for someone who wants to get into home espresso without spending a lot of money on a grinder.
If you’re looking for a high-quality all-around grinder for all kinds of coffee, it’s a good choice!
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